January 7, 2015, by Ken Jorgustin
Very few people that I notice while out in public, do the ‘automatic scan’ while they’re out and about while walking here and there. They are often focused on one thing – and it’s not related to their personal security.
It might be their smart-phone, it might be their conversation with a companion, they might be staring straight ahead, or they might be looking down while walking forward. Their mind is elsewhere. They are in their own bubble as they move about.
The problem with that is – while many people do live and function in a fairly safe environment, one never knows when their (false) notion of security might be shattered…
After you have learned the automatic scan technique, it will become a natural part of your subconscious, and will compliment your own situational awareness and personal security.
The automatic scan is about focusing and paying attention to the things around you as you move about. It’s about looking beyond your 6-foot bubble of ‘comfort zone’. It’s about a periodic scan of your environment.
One simple analogy is this… When people are in their car driving in traffic, some of them only focus on the car in front of them. The better way is to keep an eye on the cars in front of the car that’s in front of you (while you are still obviously aware of the car in front of you). This way you will better anticipate braking, etc. Similarly while out and about in public (or anywhere) it is better to be aware of more than just what is in front of you.
The automatic scan technique sounds simple enough, but the trick is to get in the subconscious habit of occasionally scanning your environment. It takes repeated conscious effort at first, and it may take awhile to regularly remember to do it, but after awhile it will become more natural and will not require conscious remembrance to do it.
You might ask, “What am I looking for?”
Answer: You are simply gauging your environment. Your subconscious (sixth sense) may alert you to something out of the ordinary, or you may even see something that is quite obviously out of the ordinary. You will also be recognized as difficult prey to any lurking predator.
While doing the automatic scan, depending on your level of concern, you might be making conscious mental notes of things or people that might look suspicious, alternate routes, exits, obstructions, etc.
When you’re out in public, you should always be in condition ‘yellow’ (relaxed alert).